Top 5 Emergency Survival Food Brands
When you're building an emergency supply stash, regular canned food isn't going to cut it. You have no idea when disaster will strike, and what kind of disaster it might be. You need food that's still going to be edible months or years from now, with high-quality, airtight packaging that can stand up to a variety of rough conditions. And while taste won't be your biggest priority in an emergency, having a stash of diverse, flavorful foods will help make the ordeal a little easier. Imagine if you had to eat freeze-dried spaghetti and meatballs every day for weeks on end!
In this era of survivalists and disaster preppers, there have never been more options on the market for emergency food kits. However, not all emergency food brands are created equally. Some offer better taste, while others offer more value for your money. Others are more calorie-dense than others. Before you start shopping, it's important to think about what you're looking for in a survival meal. Here's our ranking of the top five emergency survival food brands on the market.
- Berries. High in fiber, berries are naturally sweet, and their rich colors mean they are high in antioxidants and disease-fighting nutrients.
- Fish. Fish can be a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which help prevent heart disease.
- Olive oil. Olive oil is a good source of vitamin E, polyphenols, and monounsaturated fatty acids, all which help reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Leafy greens. Dark, leafy greens are a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and calcium, as well as several phytochemicals (chemicals made by plants that have a positive effect on your health). They also add fiber into the diet.
- Nuts. Hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, pecans — nuts are a good source of plant protein. They also contain monounsaturated fats, which may be a factor in reducing the risk of heart disease.
Our Review of the Best Emergency Survival Food Brands
1. Valley Food Storage
Overall, Valley Food Storage offers the best value for your money. They offer a wide variety of meals, including breakfast, lunch, dinner and even dessert, as well as add-ons like freeze-dried meats and vegetables. You can also buy proteins like freeze-dried cheese and peanut butter powder. Their food has a 25-year shelf life, so you can essentially throw it in your stash and forget about it. While you can buy pouches individually, you can save money by buying meal kits that are packaged in large, durable buckets.
Their meals are sealed in airtight Mylar pouches that come with an oxygen absorber that absorbs any oxygen that's left. They're also resealable, so you don't have to eat the entire portion at once. Just make sure you store the pouches in a cool, dry place, as extreme temperatures can cause the food to spoil.
2. Mountain House
Mountain House is popular with campers and hikers, but with a whopping 30-year shelf life, their products are also great for emergency food supplies. Out of all the products we've tried, Mountain House products had the best taste. Their meals are made from real ingredients like eggs, hash browns, vegetables, rice, beans, pasta and even real meat. You can also buy sides and desserts to supplement your meals with some extra protein and calories. They sell individual pouches as well as complete meal kits, so you can either buy in bulk or customize your own meals.
Mountain House offers a few different packaging options. Some of their meals come in the traditional airtight pouches, but they also sell cans that offer ten servings each. They also sell vacuum-sealed military rations, but these only have a three-year shelf life.
3. Augason Farms
Augason Farms is a great option if you're on a budget. Their food is reasonably priced, and you can buy entire meal kits without spending hundreds of dollars. They also sell ingredients that a lot of other brands don't carry, including powdered milk, butter and eggs. Their food has a 30-year shelf life, although their dairy products reportedly last only 5 to 10 years. Their products are largely ingredient-based: you can buy products like freeze-dried vegetables, biscuit mix and cheese powder, but you'll have to figure out how to mix it all together. However, they do sell a small selection of pre-made meals.
Their individual products are sealed in cans that are convenient for stacking and storage. If you buy a meal kit or a bulk order of products, you'll receive a large bucket that offers additional protection.
4. Wise Food Storage
Wise Food Storage is your best option if you're looking for food with a long shelf life. Their products can last over 25 years, which isn't uncommon, but their meal kits are stored in durable polyethylene buckets that can stand up to a lot of damage. Their products are so reliable that they're often the first choice for charities, government offices and Native American tribes. At the time of writing this, they don't sell their products individually--only meal kits are available on their website.
Their foods are packaged in airtight Metallyte pouches, then packed away in polyethylene buckets to make storage a breeze. Make sure you store the buckets in a cool, dry place to keep the food from going bad.
5. Legacy Food Storage
When it comes to variety in emergency foods, you can't beat Legacy Food Storage. In addition to entrees and breakfast mixes, you can buy honey, dehydrated noodles, cheese powder, rice, mashed potato mix, freeze-dried meat, and much more. They offer a wide range of add-ons so you can supplement your meals with extra vitamins and minerals. Their products last up to 25 years, although the freeze-dried meats will deteriorate in taste and texture over time.
Their individual products are sealed in Mylar pouches with oxygen absorbers. If you buy in bulk, their meal kits come in large, durable buckets with handles for easier transport.
Emergency Food Comparison
While Valley Food Storage is the best brand overall, Augason Farms is cheaper if you're trying to stockpile on a budget. Mountain House has the best taste and offers a wide range of meals that are geared toward campers and hikers. Wise Food Storage is the most durable, and Legacy Food Storage has unparalleled variety. Every brand has its advantages and drawbacks, so consider buying from two or more brands for a diverse food stockpile.
How to Compare the Brands
Before you do anything else, ask yourself why you're buying emergency foods in the first place. Are you stockpiling for an emergency that might happen within the next five years, like a hurricane or a power outage? Are you thinking ahead for a major disaster that might happen in the next 25 years? Or are you simply looking for tasty meals to take along on your next camping trip? When you know why you're buying emergency food, it'll make it easier to figure out what you're looking for.
If you're stockpiling food for a minor emergency, you probably won't need the most expensive, heavy-duty products on the market. You can probably get away with some of the cheaper brands, although you won't want to go too cheap, or you'll be eating sodium-dense food that tastes like cardboard. You can also afford to be a little more particular about the taste and variety of your meals, since you're not planning to eat these meals for more than three days to a week.
If you're planning ahead for a major disaster, like a war or global pandemic, you'll want to stock up on nutrient-dense foods with a long shelf life. You don't know when disaster might strike, but if it does, you could be eating survival foods for months or even years after the fact. Buying in bulk is probably your best option, as it allows you to save some money and offers extra durability with the buckets.
And if you're just planning on going camping, all you need is a few pouches of your favorite meals to get you through the trip. You'll probably want to look for a brand that's geared specifically to hikers, as they'll be more focused on taste and variety.
Adding Survival Food to Your Emergency Kit
As you browse through the websites, you'll notice that most brands offer two options: premade meals that just need to be reheated, and ingredients like freeze-dried vegetables and soup mixes. While the premade meals are fairly easy to prepare, they might not have all the nutrients you'll need to get a balanced diet. In addition to the meals, you'll want to stock up on extras like fruit, vegetables, protein, mixes, etc.
The ingredients can offer extra vitamins and minerals, but they'll also require some planning so you're not eating raw vegetables from a bag every night. Think about simple recipes that you can make from basic ingredients and plan accordingly. This way, you can enjoy a hearty entree every night as well as a side dish or two. Additionally, be aware that some ingredients can expire faster than others, and need to be used as quickly as possible.
Wrapping It Up
Overall, there's a brand on the market to suit everyone's individual needs. If you're a beginner, you'll probably want to stick with Valley Food Storage. Campers and hikers do well with Mountain House, and you can stockpile on a budget with Augason Farms. For more long-term storage, you'll probably want to go with Wise Food Storage or Legacy Food Storage. You can mix and match different brands so you have a little of everything in your stockpile, or stick with one brand if you've had good results with it in the past. Either way, it's never been easier to build an emergency food supply in your own home.
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